Quinoa Salad (Recipe) and Friday Night Pizza!

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Emma’s Art – Inspired be local flora and fauna. A Print on Emma’s (not the artist) wall.

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Friday night pizza with the girls!

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What is a Friday night girl’s night without the drinks!

Friday night! Quinoa salad (made by me, see recipe below) and Pizza made by Em and Liz. Yum! Prosciutto, soft cheese, hard cheese, pear and a bit of parmesan on a pizza base. My quinoa salad which was inspired by one of my brother’s recipes, is a winner. It is a little bit time consuming, but it is well worth the effort. Zingy, fresh and summery it’s great with not only Liz and Em’s famous pear and prosciutto pizza but also fish, a nice steak or seafood.

I have been doing a little bit of research into Quinoa. Having always been a cous cous fan as it literally cooks in 2 minutes in boiled water – Quinoa may take a little longer to cook but it’s packed full of nutrients and it’s nutty flavour and grainy texture is hard to beat.

For all you Quinoa nerds out there 2013 is actually International Year of Quinoa as declared by the United Nations. Quinoa is a seed (vegetable) not a grain but it is usually eaten as a grain. It has been cultivated for over several thousand years. Mainly grown in the Andean countries, quinoa is a staple food of ancient civilisations of the Andes of Southern America.

Quinoa is in fashion at the moment for a reason. It actually has many fantastic qualities which make it invaluable emerging crop. High in protein, low in cholesterol and sodium it is gluten-free, contains essential amino acids and is rich in minerals. Aside from it’s amazing nutritional qualities quinoa is adaptable to a large range of climatic conditions, it is hardy, drought tolerant and resistant to salinity. It also has very low production costs. Super environmentally friendly, quinoa crops have a low environmental impact, contributes to biodiversity and protecting the ecosystem.

In the Andes production remains family based and mostly organic. Production has increased the income of lower income farmers in the semi-arid Andes Highlands. Especially in the last three years as the popularity of Quinoa has soared.

Not only do producers in the Andes win from this surge in popularity but quinoa crops have the potential to aid in the world’s food shortage as it can be grown in difficult conditions. This combined with low production cost make quinoa a crop of the future.

Quinoa, Bean, Corn and Lemon Salad Recipe

Quinoa

2 cups of red quinoa

4 cups of water

2 chicken stock cubes

Salad

3 corn on the cobs, boiled and cut from cob (should produce three handfuls of corn)

1 large bunch of spring onions finely chopped

1 red onion finely chopped

1 large bunch of continental parsley, chopped roughly

Handful of green beans cut into 3-4cm lengths

Dressing

2 large lemons

3 Tbl of extra virgin olive oil

Salt & Pepper to taste

There is a bit on an art to cooking quinoa. The first tip is to wash it thoroughly under cold water several times. This washes some of the bitterness out of the seeds. When cooking red quinoa, you cook one part quinoa to two cups of water as a general rule. For this recipe you will need two cups of quinoa. After washing the quinoa thoroughly place four cups of water in a pot with the intention of bringing the water and 2 cups of red quinoa to the boil. At this point add the two chicken stock cubes (this really adds punch to the quinoa seeds). Once the quinoa and water mixture boils turn down the heat to a gentle simmer and cover for around 15 minutes. Any excess water is drained.

Once the quinoa is cooked or if you like to multitask whilst the quinoa is cooking chop the spring onions, red onion,  continental parsley and the green beans into lengths. Next bring a large pot of water to the boil and cook the corn on the cob (cut into halves) for 2-3 minutes. Using the same pot of water cook the handful of beans next for 1-3 minutes.

Let all cooked ingredients cool before combining and tossing ingredients in a large open dish or salad bowl.

The dressing is really simple. Add the oil and juice of two lemons in a glass jar with a lid. Add salt and pepper to taste.  Put the lid on the jar and shake thoroughly. Drizzle over salad. Voila! Salad is ready!

Red Quinoa cooked and ready to go !

Red Quinoa cooked and ready for the salad…

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Green Beans

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Fresh corn on the cob for the quinoa salad

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The finished product!

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Oh what a mess!

The table is a complete mess. The kitchen is a mess too. Clothes are strewn on the 8 seater dining table. Here I sit, with my laptop, H20 (which has not been touched), Ruby Sparks, Acrylic Medium, paint, clay and chinese inspired paper. This is just at one end! At the other is a nearly finished painting. It is one of two that I will enter in the local art competition where my parents live. 

They have a cattle farm which is about 150 km’s south of Perth. They moved to the outskirts of the town some 15 years ago which in small town terms nearly makes them locals! The art competition has been running for several years now. The opening night party is always a blast. Practically the whole town shows up. There are fairy lights and everyone brings a plate.

I’m in this strange headspace of giving up smoking. Yes I’m still having a few, but it doesn’t taste good anymore. So in my head I’ve given up but my bodily habit of sitting down and going through the motions of having a cigarette are still there. I don’t know what to do with all the extra time I have even though there is obviously things for me to do. Motivation zero.

My Bf and I went to my parent’s place to catch up with my cousin and his wife the other night. My mum had made this mega carrot cake that looked really impressive.. So tonight I made dinner for my Bf and I was like, ‘do you want some vegies’ and he said ‘are they crispy like your mum’s?’.  

Mum is usually a really crap baker and she actually had to cut a hole in the carrot cake because it wasn’t cut properly in the middle ( only something she shared with me).  My bf (half jokingly?!) was like ‘ can you make me a carrot cake tomorrow?!!!!!’

Ha ha I told him that he was treading a very fine line comparing my cooking to my mum’s. Super sensitive me came out in spades. And no my vegies weren’t crispy like my mum’s and no I’m def not making a carrot cake anytime soon! As for the house that is tomorrow’s job…